The Global Semiconductor Industry Analysts

The Global Semiconductor Industry Analysts

Semiconductor News

Pradeep’s Techpoints – 10 Jul 2020

Future Horizon’s view throughout this crisis was that 2020 growth was never going to be as bad and negative, as all the other pundits were saying!  Even the SIA is now coming round to this way of thinking with its latest (July 9) forecast of +3.3% growth.  The ‘industry consensus’ of -5% growth Q2 vs. Q1 is, as expected, is going to prove wildly pessimistic! Read on!

Pradeep’s Techpoints – 13 Jun 2020 

I’ve often told several friends, my wife, and son, that without semiconductors, we are absolutely nothing, or even, dead! Why, my son even repeated this very line, during his induction in college, which actually left everyone present, absolutely speechless! Now, Malcolm Penn, founder and CEO, Future Horizons, UK, has posted a brilliant piece on Facebook. I am repasting it here, with Malcolm’s permission. Read on!


“IoT is not a stand-alone chip market but a platform, Malcolm Penn, CEO of Future Horizons, told IFS 2017 in London this week.”

The semiconductor industry will grow by 11% this year, Malcolm Penn, CEO of Future Horizons, told IFS 2017 in London this week.Unit demand growth is, however, trending below the 30 year average of 10%, said Penn.In 2013, the unit growth was 9.5%, in 2014 it was 8.3%, in 2015 it was 5.1%, and in 2016 it was 6%.


IFS 2017 in London this week looked at current technology issues on 450mm, EUV, scaling, 3D NAND and FD-SOI “It looks like 300mm is the end of the process road,” said Malcolm Penn, CEO of Future Horizons, adding, “then again, in this industry never say never.”


Malcolm Penn, the founder and CEO of Future Horizons Ltd. and usually one of the most bullish of chip market forecasters, thinks 2017 could be a third year of decline for the global semiconductor industry.Penn told attendees at his autumn industry forecast seminar that 2016 was already headed towards a 1 percent decline and said political and economic uncertainty – born of incompetence – continues to dull business confidence and recovery.

When, and it is a when rather than an if, autonomous driving cars really begin to tick, it’s going to turn the whole motoring industry upside down.That’s the gist of a presentation made by semiconductor analyst Malcolm Penn, CEO and chairman of UK firm Future Horizons.There are still some significant road blocks on the autonomous car road map, Penn warned. But eventually they’ll be circumvented.


Penn predicts 4% semi growth

The semiconductor industry will grow 4% this year said Malcolm Penn, CEO of Future Horizons at IFS2016 in London this morning.Penn sees Q1 at minus 1.5%, Q2 at plus 1.5%, Q3 at plus 5.8% and Q4 at minus 1%. The 2016 market will end up at $349.345 billion.

Cumputer World UK

This week, Intel and ARM announced that they would be entering a partnership whereby for the first time in years, ARM designs will be manufactured by Intel.

The chips will be for a low-risk client, South Korea’s LG, and it signals a historic rejoining between ARM and Intel since they worked together many, many moons ago. Much fanfare was made following the announcement, but there are a few reasons to believe it’s a shrewd move by Intel

Electronics Weekly

The semiconductor industry will grow 4% this year said Malcolm Penn, CEO of Future Horizons at IFS2016 in London this morning.Penn sees Q1 at minus 1.5%, Q2 at plus 1.5%, Q3 at plus 5.8% and Q4 at minus 1%.The 2016 market will end up at $349.345 billion.


In 2014, more than half the world’s semiconductor sales were in China, but the country accounts for less than a third of production. That is set to change.

In the 15 years since China as a nation started to talk about becoming a leading producer of semiconductors, the cost of establishing a competitive manufacturing base in the sector has more than quadrupled


With the industry running cool on 450mm, there might be a case for resurrecting a strategy from the 70s and going for an intermediate wafer size, Malcolm Penn, CEO of Future Horizons, suggested at the IFS 2015 meeting in London yesterday. “A potential win-win might be to steal a trick from history to see if 300mm wafers can’t be stretched to still fit existing tooling but gain a potentially ‘free’ area advantage,” suggested Penn, “just as we so successfully did stretching two inch wafers to two and a quarter inches in the early 1970s. I was there when we did this at ITT Semiconductors and boy was it simple and did it make a difference!


Unusually for a Future Horizons forecast, today’s was gloomy. Malcolm Penn, CEO of Future Horizons told IFS 2015 in London this morning that he expected 2% semiconductor market growth this year and a flat 2016. This is what we said in January – 8.5% growth for a $364 billion market,” said Penn. What he’s saying now is that the best we can hope for is 2% growth for a $343 billion market and that “growth could even be down at 1% if Q3 is low, said Penn.”


Fourteen semiconductor pilot lines have been set up under the €6.6bn Key Enabling Technologies (KET) programme, Mike Bryant, CTO of Future Horizons, told IFS 2015 in London, on Tuesday. The pilot line project has a budget of €1.787bn, of which the EC funds €267m and local public authorities €265m


It is time to prepare for one of the strongest and longest upswings in the semiconductor industry’s history, it was stated at the Future Horizons’ IFS 2015 forecast meeting in London this morning. “Every single duck is lined up for the industry to go into a prolonged market upturn,” said Malcolm Penn, CEO of Future Horizons.  The industry grew at 9.9% last year and ASPs have been rising for seven consecutive quarters and there have been twelve successive quarters of unit demand growth, said Penn.“People don’t believe it,” said Penn, “it doesn’t fit with what they want to believe.”


At IFS2015 in London last week, Future Horizons CEO Malcolm Penn revealed OSS and the wide-ranging implications it has for the adoption of IoT.  OSS stands for ‘Odd Sock Syndrome’ or, as the Yanks like to call it ‘Orphan Sock Syndrome’.  BlackSocks Inc in the USA sells socks with an RFID IC embedded in them to match them up.


Private equity funds, which bought 80.1 percent of NXP Semiconductors in the fall of 2006, are selling off their remaining NXP shares, terminating their control over the Dutch semiconductor company.

The move marks the end of an era when the private fund consortium, comprising Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and Bain Capital Partners, took over the then troubled NXP, cut the company to its bare bones, and restored profitability


Sales of semiconductors are predicted to grow by 8% in 2014, according to Malcolm Penn, chairman of industry analyst Future Horizons, who added the upside could see sales growing by 14% compared to those of 2013. He added that 2015 could see sales grow by a further 18%.  Making his predictions at the International Forecast Seminar 2014, Penn said he is concerned about the level of investment in capital equipment and by the growing gulf between the 'haves' and 'have nots' of the semiconductor world.


Industry watcher Malcolm Penn gave an interesting interpretation at his IFS 2014 event of why Intel has mothballed Fab 42. The company, he believes, has been too successful in scaling its FinFET technology.Yields from its FinFET process have been much better than expected," he suggested. "This means Intel will only need two 14nm fabs, rather than the three it had planned for. It's a better position to be in than not having enough capacity." A further factor has been the decline in demand for pc processors.

Company confidence is growing in the macro economy, said Malcolm Penn, CEO of  Future Horizons at the company’s forecast meeting in London this morning, as the IMF prepares to increase it’s GDP forecast and financial institutions are upping their expectations.The IMF says that, in the next three weeks, it will raise its current 3.6% forecast for world GDP. Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse are forecasting 3.7% world GDP growth this year.UK GDP is forecast to grow 2.4% this year. The US economy grew at over 4% between July and September, says the US Department of Commerce.

Forecasts for the size of the semiconductor market in 2014 vary widely from the $390 billion forecast by Future Horizons back last October, to $287.5 billion forecast last month by VLSI Research. Last week Mike Cowan came up with a $318 billion forecast which parallels last month’s SIA/WSTS forecast of $316 billion.

  • >Future Horizons Predicts Sharp Chip Market Rebound


Malcolm Penn, founder and CEO of the Future Horizons consultancy, sees a sharp rebound coming in the market for semiconductor chips, despite the fact that global economy is still in "low-confidence mode."  Speaking at the International Electronics Forum held in Dublin last week, Penn stuck to his previous prediction that the global chip market would increase by 6.9 percent in 2013 to $312 billion; and added that it would than increase by 25 percent in 2014 to about $390 billion.

Malcolm Penn, CEO of chip analyst Future Horizons, gave his annual rundown on the semiconductor market at the IEF2013 in Dublin, and he had some warnings of what the industry should expect.The financial crisis is clearly not over: “We’ve got three more years to go through, but still the [semiconductor] industry was not that bad".

Predicting the Semiconductor Future

Electronic engineering Journal

How do you know what is going to happen to you and your business in the future? In earlier times, you might have gone to a temple to have a goat or a chicken sacrificed and had the entrails examined. Or you might have made a pilgrimage to an oracle, like that at Delphi. In either case, the answers were never simple and required interpretation by priests, who charged for the privilege. Later you might have consulted a gypsy with a crystal ball, or an astrologer who interpreted the stars, or a practitioner of Tarot card reading.

But what are the signs that they interpret? And how do they build these spread sheets? Malcolm Penn, the MD of Future Horizons, a London-based analysis company, actually tells you how he comes up with the forecasts.

% Semi Growth This Year And Double Digit Next Year, Says Penn


A stonking Q2 will see the semiconductor industry grow nearly 7% this year, Malcolm Penn, CEO of Future Horizons, told IFS2013 in London this morning.

Q2 grew 8.8% said Penn and Q3 is expected to grow 8.5%.

April grew 18% on March in IC unit sales terms. “One more 18% growth month will test the supply chain to the limit,” said Penn. Inventory is at rock bottom.


Europe has got its ‘man on the moon’ vision statement from the EC courtesy of vice president Neelie Kroes, says Malcolm Penn, CEO of Europe’s leading semiconductor analysts, Future Horizons.

Kroes said she wants to see European semiconductor producers regain a 20% world market share – out-producing the American suppliers.


The semiconductor industry is becoming single-sourced as companies find it economically impossible to use multiple fabs for the same chip design, Malcolm Penn, CEO of Future Horizons, tells SEMI's ISS 2013 meeting in Stresa on Lake Maggiore today..

"Portability is no longer possible - even for the CPA - there is no chance at the mask or even at the OASIS level," says Penn, "the pre-DFM file shares the nearest commonality but that falls down at the SRAM level."

"Many ARM hard cores are specially tuned to each foundry," adds Penn, "DFM is already finely tuned and foundry dependent. If you still think SOCs are not single-sourced, ask Apple."


Future Horizon’s forecast meeting for the first half of 2013 made it clear how electronics and the semiconductor industry in particular is facing big problems – and some of them are being exacerbated by the often adversarial rather than cooperative nature of the business. “I believe there are at least ten or twelve major issues that the semiconductor industry will have to address over the next decade and the current business model that the industry has will not solve them,” said Malcolm Penn, president and CEO of Future Horizons as he described the challenges facing an industry buffeted not just by economic headwinds but the accumulated pain of dealing with the end of classic Moore’s Law scaling.


The semiconductor market will grow 7.9% this year, Malcolm Penn, CEO of Future Horizons, told IFS2013 in London this morning.  However Penn added: "Last year I forecast 8% growth, and I said that was a safe bet and it turned out to be minus 2.4%."  World events - the US fiscal mess, the Eurozone debt mess, the 'damp squibs' of Windows 8 and iPhone 5 all blighted the industry in 2012, said Penn  For 2013, Penn expects a flat Q1, 2% growth in Q2, 8% growth in Q3 and a 2.1% decline in Q4.

New Electronics

The semiconductor industry has to address a number of fundamental issues in the near future, claims Malcolm Penn, pictured, chairman of market watcher Future Horizons. "The reason is the current model won't solve the problems it is facing," he said.  Speaking at Future Horizon's 2013 Industry Forecast Seminar, Penn pointed to issues such as the 450mm transition, lithography and the rise of the foundry sector – and TSMC in particular.

TSMC: 18 Inch Wafer Production To Start in 2018

TSMC has announced that it will begin volume production of chips using 18 inch (450mm) wafers in 2018.

J.K. Wang, vice president for operations at the mega foundry, said at a conference held by industry body SEMI in Taipei that the company is expecting to complete specification settings for 18 inch wafers in 2014 or 2015, with a view to setting up pilot lines in 2016 or 2017, according to The Taipei Times.

Assuming that each step goes to plan, Wang said that TSMC expects to then begin volume production in 2018, which would also coincide with plans to move to 10 nm process production with FinFET transistors at the same time

GlobalFoundries has overtaken United Microelectronics Corp (UMC) as the second biggest contract chip maker for the second quarter of 2012, reports IC Insights.

GloFo managed increase sales by 18 percent, pushing the company past UMC to become the second biggest foundry in the world. It is also ranked as the 16th largest semiconductor supplier, worldwide, and the analyst house believes it may climb over Fujitsu for total 2012 sales to reach 15th.


A study commissioned by the European Commission on the impact of 450mm manufacturing concludes that not having a 450mm production infrastructure in Europe will “threaten the competitiveness of the current European SC manufacturing base, including technology development and device design.”  The study prepared in partnership with industry analysis firm, Future Horizons, recommends the creation of a master plan that includes “both a strong industrial commitment and a coordinated position …to leverage the required funding, avoid duplication and concentrate the funding where needed.”


A cheerful forecast for the semiconductor market comes from Semico who expect 6-8% growth for the year, making it the most optimisitic of the major forecasters.

IDC is forecasting 4.6%; IHS expects 4.3%; while Gartner and Future Horizons plump for 4% and IC Insights goes for 3%.

The SIA is forecasting a flat year which, according to Malcolm Penn, CEO of Future Horizons, is "totally and absolutely wrong, it's not going to be less than 4%."

Intel’s prospective expansion at its Leixlip site could be paving the way for a move to 450mm production.

Intel is about to get the nod for expansion to its Kildare plant soon, though intended 14nm production is only said to be going ahead at 300mm.

Future Horizons analyst Mike Bryant says that it is likely that Ireland will see the creation of Intel’s third 450mm, though it is unclear when Intel will begin moving to the advanced production method

IHS has constructed a report that shines light on Apple in a remarkably favourable way: it claims that Apple is solidifying its hegemony over the chip market, that it is a crucial company to the industry in the long term. Apple will "dramatically" outperform Samsung, soon, allowing it to be the world's top OEM semiconductor buyer. But, according to a top chip analyst, this is hokum.


Future Horizons is forecasting four percent growth for the semiconductor industry during 2012, revising its predictions down due to ongoing economic malaise.

At the Future Horizon Summit 2012 semi industry analyst Malcolm Penn indicated the likely growth in terms of shipments for the remainder of the year.

The total growth figure is estimated to be approximately four percent, which is a reduction on the expectation of around eight percent highlighted at the start of the year


Anti-IMEC sentiment across Europe has been putting the continent's role in the transition of chip production to 450-mm diameter wafers at risk, according to Mike Bryant, analyst with Future Horizons Ltd. (Sevenoaks, England).

Already Europe's role is somewhat limited with inward investors Intel and GlobalFoundries as the only companies likely to make chips on 450-mm wafers in Europe, But ASML Holding NV (Veldhoven, The Netherlands) has become almost a monopoly supplier of lithography equipment for leading-edge production nodes and stands to benefit from the transition.

If GlobalFoundries expands again in New York state beyond the $4.6 billion computer chip factory it has in Malta, it might do so by buying IBM's semiconductor business, which includes Big Blue's chip fab in East Fishkill.

Speculation has been swirling for several years as the two companies have forged one of the closest alliances in the industry, dating to the creation of GlobalFoundries in 2009. 


Malcolm Penn's substantial report considering whether Europe should dip its toes into the 450mm pond has now been published.

His conclusion is that the EC should stump up some $3billion to seed the construction of a European shared 450mm fab – and hence spawn industry collaboration 


A study commissioned by the European Commission has looked into the potential role of European authorities in encouraging the construction of a 450-mm wafer fab on the old continent.

The report, prepared by Future Horizons and Decision SA, tried to identify activities required to support research and innovation in semiconductor production in Europe. It found that semiconductor output in Europe could decline unless something is done to support development.


LONDON – A report prepared for the European Commission just published discusses the potential role of European authorities in encouraging the creation of both a pilot 450-mm wafer fab to support Europe's chip equipment companies and a volume manufacturing 450-mm plant for a wide variety of More-than-Moore processes.

The report, entitled Benefits and measures to set up 450 mm semiconductor prototyping and to keep semiconductor manufacturing in Europe. The role of public authorities and programmes has been prepared between January 2011 and February 2012 by the consultancies Future Horizons Ltd. (Sevenoaks, England) and Decision SA (Paris, France).


Executives and specialists from the electronics components market will meet in Milan on May 31 at the International Distribution of Electronics Association (IDEA) executive conference.

The main talking point will how can the supply chain maximise business opportuntities as governments around the world desperately seek to move the western economies from austerity to growth.

The conference starts with a review of the global economy and particularly the European economy presented by Paolo Guida, Head of Retail and SME Research at BancaIntesa Sanpaolo.

  • >The Prime Minister Of Armenia Will Be Speaking At This Years International Electronics Forum Organised By Future Horizons.


2012 is the 21st anniversary of Armenia’s secession from the Soviet Union and also the 21st anniversary of the Future Horizons IEF.

The forum is being held at the Marriott Hotel in Armenia’s capital, Yerevan.

 “ The forum will serve to provide guidance and discussion to really drive the foundry and semiconductor market progress as it continues its momentum out of this economic downturn,” says Future Horizons’ CEO malcolm Penn, “we have also ensured we are coinciding with the DigiTech Expo (5-7 October 2012) allowing us to offer delegates a pre- and post-forum Armenia experience.” 


LONDON – The International Electronics Forum is off to Yerevan, the capital of Armenia for its 21 st annual meeting. The meeting of C-level executives is set to take place at Yerevan Marriott Hotel from Oct. 3 to 5, 2012.

The forum is organized by Future Horizons Ltd. (Sevenoaks, England) and covers the electronics value chain from R&D to end markets and service providers.


The massive earthquake and tsunami that tore through Japan on 11 March and rippled throughout the Pacific region could have significant short-term effects on the semiconductor industry, according to analysts.

Japan and Taiwan make up a huge amount of the global semiconductor manufacturing, and even the smallest amount of downtime could have a large impact on chip supply and prices, the analysts said in various reports.

For a company that is supposedly under attack - with the PC market moving away from traditional desktops and towards tablets and smartphones - Intel is performing rather well.

In fact, the latest yearly semiconductor figures released by IHS show that the Santa Clara firm increased its lead in the market with a 20.6 percent revenue jump, accounting for its highest share in over ten years.

Last year, Chipzilla increased its overall semi market revenue share to 15.6 percent, an increase of 2.5 percent from 13.1 percent in 2010.  This is even more than the 14.9 percent market revenue share way back in 2001 when Ultrabooks were just a twinkle in Intel’s eye.

KEEPING EUROPE competitive was the recurring theme at a recent conference for the semiconductor industry in Munich, with a succession of speakers highlighting how the axis of the old industrial world continues to shift.

The decline of European manufacturing may be a familiar story, but new chapters are being written all the time and it’s not certain if there will be a happy ending

Malcolm Penn, a semiconductor industry analyst, talked about getting used to the new world order.


Industry experts highlighted the need for the channel to adapt to the growth of cloud computing, during the launch of channel-dedicated title ChannelBiz.

NetMediaEurope CEO Dominique Busso launched the new site in the Soho Hotel in the centre of London this morning to a crowd of industry figures, journalists and PRs.

The channel must adapt. At the event Mike Magee, Editor in Chief of ChannelBiz, and editor of TechEye. highlighted the need for the channel to modernise itself in order to adapt to major changes.


The first chips manufactured on 450mm wafers will begin to roll out from a handful of fabs within the next few years.

The move, being made by companies like Intel and TSMC, is the next step in the industry's pursuit of Moore's Law. In following Moore's prediction that the number of transistors on a given area of silicon would double every 18 months, these companies are subscribing to a school of thought which has become known as 'More Moore'.

THE TRANSITION to next-generation semiconductor manufacturing will be a tipping point for Europe, according to a new study by the EU commission, which is calling for a collective EU strategy to ensure 450mm silicon wafer fabrication comes to the continent.

Willy Van Puymbroek, head of the nano electronic unit in the European Commission, told a trade conference in Munich that national strategies won’t work because of the high costs involved in setting up a 450mm facility. Analyst Malcolm Penn, from Future Horizons, warned that Europe has to build on its leadership of materials and equipment to make sure it’s in the race. “If Europe doesn’t embrace 450mm, then it’s history,” he said.

Intel is to stop supplying sales data to the WSTS.  Last year AMD left the WSTS.

With Intel leaving WSTS, and other companies likely to follow, then, without reliable sales statistics, estimates of semiconductor market size and estimates of product markets will be guesswork.

 “It will be pure conjecture,” says Malcolm Penn, CEO of analysts Future Horizons, “everything will be built on guesswork.


Intel confirmed to ZDNet UK on Thursday that "there have been other agreements" besides its 22nm fabbing relationships with Tabula and Achronix Semiconductor. However, it declined to give more details.

Intel plays the musical chairs game, the IT industry celebrates lots of record quarters, only AMD disappoints. Things are uncertain around Globalfoundries and numerous Bryants draw attention.

It seems a bit rich for a company proposing to spend $12.5 billion on capex this year to be asking other companies, and government institutions, for help in developing a technology which will, mostly, benefit that one company.

The company which, more than anyone else, has pushed for 450mm, is Intel, and Intel recently announced a 2012 capex budget of $12.5 billion.

That's about half the estimated cost of the 450mm transition.

The EU is thinking of backing 450mm development, and Future Horizons has done a report for the EU on whether this is a worthwhile thing to do.

Doom and gloom may be prevailing through much of the world, but there is hope that the semiconductor industry could see a good bounce back this year, according to Future Horizons CEO Malcolm Penn.At IFS 2012, a peer into what the semi industry has to offer, Penn’s energetic outlook defied industry pessimism.

It may be true that the world has been through another traumatic upheaval, but there is plenty of scope for the chip industry to rebound in a big way this year, with the question more ‘when’ rather than ‘if’, he reckons.


Mike Bryant, technology analyst with Future Horizons Ltd. has said that foundry Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. is in trouble with its 28-nm manufacturing process technologies, which are not yet yielding well. Bryant referenced un-named contacts made with multiple companies waiting for designs to be produced by TSMC on 28-nm processes.

Malcolm Penn, founder and chief analyst with semiconductor market analysis firm Future Horizons Ltd., has predicted that the global chip market will rise on an annual basis by 8 percent to $323.2 billion in 2012. Penn said that after a flat first quarter he expected the chip market to bounce back in the second half of the year.

TSMC CEO Morris Chang reckons the semiconductor industry will grow 2% this year.

In a flat year for the overall industry last year, the foundry industry grew 4% said Chang.

In 2012, he added, foundry business will grow more than the overall industry and TSMC will grow more than the foundry industry.

American semiconductor companies are exporting their brains, says the author of the Innovators Dilemma, Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen.

There’s only one exception – Intel, says Christensen.

Outsourcing fab is one of the ways US chip-makers are handing over a vital technological competitive differentiator, argues Christensen. 

  • >Intel Leads In Process. But By How Much?


Intel is ahead of the semiconductor industry in process technology but by how much?  Ed McKernan at SemiWiki writes: “They (Intel) believe they just need to get to 14nm production with finfets in 2014 and then they will be all alone with a 4-year process lead.”

And Malcolm Penn, CEO of Europe’s leading semiconductor analysts company, Future Horizons, says: “TSMC are still lagging Intel by a couple of years.”However Intel’s process plans have not been totally smooth.“Intel was supposed to have 22nm at the end of this year or Q1 2012. Now this has been moved forward to sometime in 2012,” says statistical variability expert Professor Asen Asenov of GlasgowUniversity and CEOof Gold Standard Simulations (GSS).


Chipzilla boffins have emerged from their smoke filled labs claiming to have created another monster and defied God and common decency by making a 14nm IC.

Managing director for northern Europe Pat Bliemer told Nordic Hardware, that Intel has cracked the 14nm process producing ICs in its laboratories.

While this is a long way off from ever turning up under the bonnet of a gadget you might own, it does indicate that Intel is closer to the successor process generation to 22nm.

Executive director and head of Future Horizons Company Malcolm Penn is in Armenia on working visit.

He intends to observe and evaluate the perspective of holding IEF 2012 international conference in Yerevan.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company boss Morris Chang has called on the Taiwanese government to show his firm a bit more support.

While he said that he wasn’t on the lookout for any handouts or having a pop at authorities, it appears that the chairman of one of the world’s biggest semiconductor firms is looking for a bit of recognition


For several years now, 450mm wafer processing has been under discussion, but apart from work on setting standards, little has actually emerged. Much discussion focused on whether the industry could actually afford to make this transition and whether it actually needs it. With the joint efforts of leading semiconductor manufactures as well as some support from governmental organizations, the transition of 450mm semiconductor wafers now looks inevitable.


SEVILLE, Spain – Malcolm Penn, founder and principal analyst with market analysis company Future Horizons (Sevenoaks, England), now sees 2011 as essentially a flat year compared with 2010 for the global chip market.

Penn, organizer of the International Electronics Forum being held here, who had given a forecast at the beginning of the year of around 9 percent, told the audience that the market had been knocked off course by a series of factors. 


As we reported earlier this week, we reported how chief analyst at Future Horizons, Malcolm Penn, predicted there's a chance the chip market might grow just one percent this year.  Not good news, then, that IHS says inventory levels are at a height we haven't seen since the beginning of the recession in 2008.

Electronics Weekly

Leading edge capacity will never again be a commodity. Recent trends are making manufacturing more valuable and scarce, according to Future Horizons whose IEF 2011 conference in Seville started this morning.

The trend to go fabless at 65nm, the trend to $3bn fabs reducing the number of IDMs and foundries which can afford them, the trend for capacity to lag demand rather than lead it, and the trend to 450mm, are combining to make leading edge capacity limited, expensive and tight.

  • >450mm: It's Different This Time


The move to 450mm semiconductor wafer size will inevitably be an inflection point for the industry, with enormous ramifications for the complete semiconductor ecosystem. Those firms with 450mm capability will enjoy a huge competitive advantage of staying on the More Moore node development roadmap, a potential 30 percent lower die cost advantage, and a more efficient manufacturing tool platform. The remaining 300mm platforms will be squeezed into increasingly overcrowded niches. 


The era of abundant leading-edge capacity is over, according to Future Horizons, the trends of the last decade are making manufacturing more and more valuable and more scarce.


The International Electronics Forum is set to take place next month, Oct. 5 to 7, in Seville, Spain. The program includes presentations from a dozen senior executives drawn from companies in the fields of manufacturing, design and fabbed and fabless chip supply

Chip manufacturer TSMC has admitted that its strong growth targets look unlikely and out of reach because, of course, the market demand isn't quite what it expected.

However, its CEO Morris Chang still believes it will outclass the industry average elsewhere for 2011 as a whole. Originally it wanted to hit 20 percent growth in sales. Digitimes believes TSMC knew what was up in the second quarter when it saw utilisation rates drop, and that its targets were too ambitious


The International Electronics Forum is set to take place next month, Oct. 5 to 7, in Seville, Spain. The program includes presentations from a dozen senior executives drawn from companies in the fields of manufacturing, design and fabbed and fabless chip supply.

Analyst IDC has lowered its forecast for semiconductor sales revenue growth to 5% for this year, in the same week that Future Horizons lowered its growth forecast to 4%

Gartner Dataquest is projecting 5% while iSuppli is saying 7%.

Growth applications markets are tablets and e-readers, said IDC, declining applications are DVDs and games consoles

Intel has a two year lead in process technology over the rest of the semiconductor industry and could get further ahead if yields are satisfactory on its finfet-based 22nm process due for introduction later this year.

So said Mike Bryant, CTO of Future Horizons, at the recent IFS 2011 conference in London.


The Taiwanese company, the fourth-largest chip manufacturer by semiconductor sales, has already begun a production test run of the next-generation A6 chips expected to be used in Apple's mobile devices, Reuters reported on Friday.

Every country in the world will want to have the first 450mm fab, it was stated at IFS 2011 in London this morning.

"Every country in the world will want it," said Malcolm Penn, CEO of Future Horizons, "where the first 450mm fab is located is going to be such an interesting decision – it will be loaded with politics."

Samsung will look to stay ahead of its rivals with the opening of a new NAND memory chip facility.

Just as Toshiba announced that it would be making its own NAND fab with partner SanDisk, Samsung will be staying one step ahead with the opening of its own facility this September.

Future Horizons downgraded its forecast for 2011 semiconductor growth to 4% this morning.A flattish Q1 and Q2 is expected to be followed by 4% growth in Q3 and 1.5% growth in Q4."Q1 was better than expected – then came the earthquake," said Future Horizons’ CEO Malcolm Penn, "the memory pricing uncertainty wild card has kicked in."

Elpida is taking a gamble in selling its stocks. Some claim that the latest announcement means there will be too many shares in the market, while others are concerned that now is not the right time for brokers to buy.

  • >Inventory Levels Challenged Already

Market analysts are already hammering semiconductor companies that are carrying high levels of inventory, meaning the "new normal" -- buffering stock against disasters such as the Japan earthquake -- is already being challenged.

According to the Dow Jones news agency, the new boss of Samsung Electronics reckons the semiconductor market will be weak in the second half of the year.  Normally Q3 is the best quarter of the year and Q4 is relatively strong making the second half traditionally stronger than the first half.

New Electronics

When Gordon Moore developed his eponymous law, he focused only on the number of transistors that could be accommodated on a given area of silicon; the size of the wafers on which devices were fabricated was not a contributory factor.

But as feature sizes have shrunk from a handful of microns to a handful of nanometres, the wafers on which devices are created have grown in diameter. Today, mainstream semiconductor manufacture is based on 300mm wafers. Now, TSMC, Intel and Samsung have announced they're ready to move production to 450mm diameter wafers.

TSMC is expecting 20% growth this year, said CEO Morris Chang earlier today, while he expects the overall foundry industry to grow 12%, and the overall semiconductor industry to grow only 5%.

That’s in contrast to leading analysts with IC Insights forecasting double digit overall growth for the semiconductor market and Future Horizons forecasting 9% with the proviso “ it could very easily go to double digits."

University Of Surrey

A high-level conference of experts in electronics, photonics and electrical systems will be held at the University of Surrey to examine ways to foster better relationships between industry and academia and to help speed up the use of innovative technology into markets.

ICT and Electronics

This year's early bird rate will finish this Friday, 3rd June so register now to take advantage of it!  Table tops are also going fast so don't forget to book yours now to avoid the disappointment of not getting the spot you want for your company!

ElectronicsWeekly.comThe EC is not interested in backing 450mm development in the immediate future, it was said at the 5th SEMI Brussels Forum this morning.
Rob Hartman director of the strategic technology programme at ASML stated that 450mm is something that would happen in the next five years and that "We need to get a large manufacturing facility in Europe supported by the EC."

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) won't be lowering prices any time soon. Instead it will capitalise on its leading position and will dictate how the market operates.

There were reports in Taiwan's Economic Daily suggesting the company has been in talks with clients to lower prices by three to five percent in the third quarter

Icera Semiconductor, the nine year-old Bristol soft modem company, has been sold to Nvidia for $367m – returning a $100m profit to its VC backers who have put up $250m in equity plus $12m in debt funding raised from Silicon Valley Bank in January.

Icera had always said it was intending to become a major independent player. For many years it talked about a $1bn IPO. The sale to Nvidia will be seen as a failure of expectations

Shortages of components in a range of markets are continuing to hit production levels following the after effects of the tragic Japanese crisis.

  • >LED Lighting: Market Changer Or Mere Green Badge?


While LED lighting is still far from the mainstream, early solid-state lighting products are starting to appear on the market in a variety of form factors and designs. At this stage, it's too early to envisage how LEDs will develop, and what features and applications will prove attractive to consumers, over the coming years. Let's take a look at the current state of play.

The 48-inch LED T8-sized tube light is an interesting example. While it is not intended as a drop-in replacement for the traditional fluorescent tube, which needs a fixture with a ballast unit, the product is targeted at fluorescent tube light markets

  • >Unbridled Outsourcing Breeds Supply Insecurity


At the corporate level, the disruption to manufacturing worldwide caused by the Japan earthquake and tsunami on March 11 will force a rethink of how companies manage their production in the food chain, and especially in chip manufacturing.What if a force-9 earthquake and tsunami hit Taiwan? The 60 percent combined share Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) (NYSE: TSM) and United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) (NYSE: UMC) have in the foundry business would affect every IC firm. It would be akin to Mitsubishi Gas Chemical's and Hitachi Chemical's joint 90 percent control of the specialty resin market. 


Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) has confirmed that pilot production of its 20 nanometer process will begin in the second half of 2012.


Semiconductor revenue across the world rose 30.9 percent in 2010 compared with the previous year a sign of a broad demand-driven economic recovery, according to Gartner

In total, semiconductor revenue for 2010 reached $299.4bn (£183.7bn), up $70.7bn on 2009's figures, the market research firm said in a report released on Monday. The figure marks the largest dollar increase in any one year for the industry, which manufactures the materials that underpin all sophisticated electronics — from laptops to cars to smart bombs.

  • >Tech Needs a Healthier Supply Chain, Part 2


In the first part of this article, I suggested that the Japan earthquake could be the catalyst the electronics industry needs to overhaul and improve its supply chain. (See: Tech Needs a Healthier Supply Chain, Part 1.) In this second and concluding part, I will look at how the industry arrived at its current situation -- and why major steps must be taken to improve it.